Central Minnesota Freethinkers’ National Day of Reason Presentation
The Central Minnesota Freethinkers Board of Directors invite you to attend the following event in celebration of the National Day of Reason.
Thursday, May 6, 2021
Jerry Smith, PhD
This will be a Zoom session.
Title of Presentation: The Path to Human Flourishing
Although humanists, atheists, freethinkers, and other secularists are understandably pleased at the continued decline of religiosity and church membership in the United States, this development is unlikely to result in substantial membership growth for secular organizations. With atheism having lost its stigma, few young “Nones” feel the need for a secular community, and those that do can often find what they need on the Internet. As a result, secular organizations will have to find new purposes to complement or replace the two–promoting church-state separation and providing a community for non-believers–to which they have historically been devoted. This presentation will propose a promising mission for secularists, that being the promotion of widespread human flourishing. As suggested by Steven Pinker in his 2018 book, “Enlightenment Now,” humanism/secularism can be viewed as the modern heir of the 18th century Enlightenment. But while our commitment to reason, evidence, and scientific thinking is a necessary means to human flourishing, it is not sufficient. In addition, we must use our naturalistic understanding of human nature and social relations to develop a platform of social, political, and economic principles that will create a path to widespread human flourishing. This presentation proposes first steps in that endeavor.
Gerald F. (Jerry) Smith is a recently retired college professor who spent thirty-five years teaching and doing research in business schools at the University of Minnesota and the University of Northern Iowa. The primary foci of both his teaching and research were decision making, problem solving, and critical thinking. A long-time member of the Humanists of Minnesota, Jerry currently serves on their Board of Directors and hosts various programs for the organization, notably the monthly “Discussion and Debate” series and the “Think!” course that develops participants’ thinking skills. Jerry is a zealous reader, a fairly successful gardener, and a not-so-successful angler. He lives with his wife, Juliet, in St. Paul; all of their five adult children currently reside in the Twin Cities.